A Strong Mom Raising Three Beautiful Girls
Meet The Strohmenger Family
I found myself growing up faster than I wanted to in 2007. I was a Junior in High School and only 17 years old when I found out I was pregnant. Like other teenagers in my situation, I thought we were in love and that we would last forever, but that was short lived when I told him about my pregnancy and then we broke up. Thankfully, I was a good student and had enough credits to graduate early in March. I gave birth in March and walked down the aisle with my graduating class at Batavia High School in June of 2008.
Adrianna was born on March 29, 2008. After numerous pleas to the father of my child for financial support went unanswered, I was forced to work two jobs. I decided to try to get my life back on track and enrolled in cosmetology school when my daughter was 6 months old. I graduated in 2009 and became an Illinois licensed Cosmetologist.
I let my feelings get the best of my heart and started dating my middle school boyfriend six months after the birth of my first daughter. Life with him was not a bed of roses and as time went on, problems with domestic violence started to happen. My life was a roller coaster with him in and out of our lives promising he would get better. I found myself pregnant again, and we welcomed Aniya into this world on September 10, 2014. Life was miserable with this man and I found it hard to get ahead. I had just enough strength and will to finally end our relationship in 2016.
During this time, I received my Associates Degree in Criminal Justice in 2015 from Waubonsee Community College. I was also working as a server at Chili’s and as a Police Cadet. Since I was not receiving child support from either father, I was forced to live in low-income housing due to only having my income. As a young single mother, I was working so hard to give my daughters a better life.
In 2018, I was finally able to move my daughters into a better neighborhood, so I thought. After time, we continued to have major issues in our apartment, like pipes leaking, no air-conditioner, a small water heater, flooding coming from the outside, windows letting in cold air, electricity problems, baseboard heat not working, and mold issues. The landlord just patches these things, but never really fixes them, or ignores the problems. There were times when my electric bill was over $1000! My only goal has always been to give my daughters a safe home -somewhere where they can live comfortably and enjoy their childhood. But how can I when I can’t even afford to move to a better place with my income?
I wanted to buy a home for my family, but I did not qualify for a mortgage. I was told over and over again by banks to work very hard to save for a down-payment and build my credit, but having only one income and 3 mouths to feed made it nearly impossible to move forward. I was beginning to feel defeated, like I was a mother who was just letting her children down. I prayed for someone to help me and show me a way to move forward.
I finally got a great full-time job in 2018 at the Northern Illinois Academy, a psychiatric residential treatment facility for juveniles, while also going to Walden University for my bachelor’s degree. I also was able to take on a part-time job at California Pizza Kitchen in Geneva. I loved my jobs and I was starting to save my money. I was feeling very confident in my current situation. I finally graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology, it was a long journey, but I finally finished! But, once again, my heart pulled me into another direction after graduation. I started dating again and in April 2021, I found out I was pregnant with my third child. Then in May, I was knocked for a loop when I found out Northern Illinois Academy was closing and I was laid off in July 2021.
Here I was, 5 months pregnant, losing my full-time job, and I did not have a good relationship with this current guy, what am I going to do! I was completely lost and felt so helpless that I would never be able to give my daughters a better life. But I knew I had to trust God’s plan, so I continued to pick up more hours at California Pizza Kitchen and save until my daughter, Avianna, was born November 16, 2021. This guy was not in the picture long, he was incarcerated in January 2022, which meant no child support coming in. I continued to pray for God to help me to make better decisions for me and my family. Then one day, someone sent me information about Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity.
I had watched the organization do so much for people around the world growing up, but I never knew that they were right here in my own community. I was told about the homes that they were building in Batavia, so I went to see them. My parents urged me to apply for the program. I never thought I would be chosen, but if I did not try, I would never know. So, I applied. They called me to do a home visit and then called to tell me that we were chosen to be in the program. When my family was chosen to be homeowners, I felt this rush of relief that is hard to explain. I was happy, crying for joy, but overwhelmed of where our journey will take us next. Our prayers had been answered. I had worked so hard for so long to give my daughters the best life possible and now our dream is coming true. I am so excited to take this journey and finally be able to give my daughters a real place to call home, with stability, a neighborhood to grow up in, and to be a part of a new community. This is a life-changing experience and we are so, so grateful! Thank you, Jesus for helping us see the light at the end of this dark tunnel. It will be a hard walk the next few months going back to work full time, having 3 young kids, putting in the sweat equity hours, but, I’ll keep my eyes on the prize-homeownership.